LAHORE: The Pak-China Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCJCCI) here on Wednesday called for adopting Chinese quarrying techniques for marble and granite extraction to transform the cutting-edge stone industry in Pakistan.
PCJCCI President SM Naveed suggested this in line with the view of PCJCCI Chairman Wang Zihai. He pointed out that export quantum of marble and granite could be increased many folds by establishing marble industrial parks in collaboration with China under CPEC (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor) to effectively utilise the valuable marble reserves of the country.
SM Naveed was of the view that industrial parks would bring the cost-effective cutting, blasting and finishing technology in Pakistan that would enhance the competitive edge of the industry. All provinces of Pakistan, he added, had huge deposits of ornamental stones, citing that Balochistan had rich confirmed deposits of marble and granite in Khuzdar, Loralai, Lasbela and Chaghi districts, whereas, in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Malakand, Mardan, Hazara, Peshawar, and Kohat were the high-potential areas where quarrying and mining were already taking place. However, lack of quality production, the inconsistent supply of raw material and scarcity of modern technology were factors which needed government’s attention. He mentioned and called for strengthening Pakistan Stone Development Company (PASDEC) to fill in the missing chains in marble industry.
He said that the extraction in Pakistan mainly comprises boring of holes in the bedrock, filled with explosives to blast the block, resulting not only in high wastage but also in smaller sized stone, substantially reducing the price. Standard quarry wastage in the world was taken at 50 per cent of the gross produce; however, in Pakistan, this reached up to 73 per cent. “Wastage can be avoided by using latest wire-cutting techniques and equipment, thus bright prospects of setting up joint ventures in the marble sector exist in Pakistan, he added.
He said, the global market for marble and granite was estimated at around $ 62 billion but Pakistan’s share was below 1 per cent, which was a cause of concern for the policymakers. With the support of the government, he said, marble industry had the potential to become the backbone of the economy and promote more exports than the share of textile products. He urged the government to address marble industry issues on priority.
Meanwhile, Wang pledged to share this valuable information with relevant counterparts in China, adding that he would discuss the proposal for transferring marble extraction technology from China to Pakistan that would be beneficial for both countries.
Both Wang and Naveed discussed multiple proposals for promoting model quarries and mining projects in line with the best international practices and latest technology. They urged the government to establish model marble cities all over Pakistan, incorporating the training and research centres with state-of-the-art processing technology, engineering units, and warehousing facility through PASDEC.